If you have cable modem or DSL service, you’re a very lucky individual. Not only do you get spectacular speed when surfing the Web or doing email, but you also have a full-time connection. You never have to wait for some modem to dial (screeching all the way), and wait again for it to disconnect. It’s just too bad that only one PC in your household or office can enjoy these luxuries.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can spread the joy of high-speed Internet to every PC on your network in either of two ways:
Buy a router. A router (a residential gateway in Microsoft lingo) is a little box, costing about $80, that connects directly to the cable modem or DSL box. In some cases, it doubles as a hub, providing multiple Ethernet jacks into which you can plug your PCs. Others offer only a single jack into which you plug your existing hub. As a bonus, the router provides excellent security, serving as a firewall that isolates your network computers from the Internet and keeps out hackers.
You’re supposed to change a router’s settings (in the rare event that they need changing) using your Web browser. You “sign onto” it using the account name and password you use to log onto the cable or DSL network. The router then logs onto your Internet service and stands ready to transmit Internet data to and from all of the computers on your network.
Use Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). ICS is a built-in feature of Windows XP Professional that serves as ...